Fatal house fire started accidentally by candle

Chip pan fire in Sunderland.
Chip pan fire in Sunderland.

A house fire that killed a mother and her 11-year-old daughter was started accidentally by a candle.

Alina Kordaszewska, 41, and her daughter, Emila, died at the scene after a blaze broke out in South Street, Braintree, Essex, just before 10.45pm on Wednesday.

Investigations by Essex Fire and Rescue revealed the fire was started accidentally by candles in the lounge.

Two women aged 43 and 18 managed to get out of the property before emergency services arrived.

Alina’s husband, Rafal Kordaszewski, said: “Alina and Emila were very much loved and we will miss them greatly.

“We would like to thank everyone for their support and everything they have done for us.

“We have had so much support from our friends and the community; we are overwhelmed by their generosity.

“Friends have also brought us clothes and food and have helped us with housing.”

Post-mortem examinations provisionally gave the cause of death for the mother and daughter as smoke inhalation.

On Thursday flowers and candles were left outside the house where a Christmas decoration of Father Christmas hanging from a ladder remained unscathed, while windows on the first floor at the front of the house were smashed.

Acting Chief Fire Officer Adam Eckley said: “This is a tragic incident, and to fall so close to Christmas has made it even more heart-breaking. The fire service is doing everything we can to work with the local communities to reassure them and keep them safe”.

The fire service is urging people to take extra care when using candles, not leave them unattended and ensure they are fully extinguished before they leave the room.